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I've started playing the trial and am considering buying it. The problem is that I'm not sure how the payment system works. After reading through stuff on the upgrade page of the launcher, I have two theories:

Buy the game, the subscription or minutes

or

Buy the game and subscription/minutes

Thanks in advance

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  • I don't think you need to "buy the game" anymore. Im not confident enough to post this as an answer but I have played for about a subbed month total and it seems like you just need a subscription to play any character beyond level 20. extremetech.com/gaming/…
    – user37332
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 11:01

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Up to level 20 playing WoW costs nothing. This is the Starter Edition and it is very limited (no guilds, trades, etc). After that you need to pay for game time (via subscription or game cards or later even via ingame gold).

For playing up to level 110 you only need an active subscription. You do not need to buy an extra game or expansion.

As stated in the Blizzard Store:

  • Subscription includes levels 1-110.
  • Subscription includes levels 1-60 in World of Warcraft® Classic.

If you want to play the whole game you'll need to buy the latest expansion. Currently this is Battle for Azeroth, which allows you to play all the way up to level 120 and its endgame features. In order to play it you need an active subsciption or game time (you can even buy game time with ingame gold).

Pre-purchasing upcoming expansions (Shadowlands is available for pre-purchase) is not necessary. It's only worth it, if you want the extra goodies that come with the purchase. Other than that you can just buy them shortly before their release to have them available right from the start.

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  • So is it possible to play without a subscription?
    – Olliroxx
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 11:26
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    @ThisRandomGuy Only up to level 20 in the mainline game.
    – Nzall
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 12:00
  • What I mean is if you buy the game, do you still need the subscription?
    – Olliroxx
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 12:54
  • Yes, active game time is a requirement after level 20. But if you're active enough you can pay for it using ingame currency, This way it won't cost real money. This won't work in early stages of the game as gold is hard to come by that soon, but in the late game it's a possibility.
    – dly
    Commented May 1, 2020 at 13:15

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